The season of holidays is upon us! Starting with the month of October, we will have at least six major holidays back to back. Each holiday is full of traditions that every family can choose to participate in. The most controversial holiday, for Christians that is, is Halloween. Should Christians celebrate Halloween?
Should Christians Celebrate Halloween?
Fall has to be my favorite season of the year. The crispness in the atmosphere brings a refreshing feeling after those long summer days. It feels like there is change in the air. If you were a Mary Poppins fan, you might conclude, due to the winds, that something was brewing!
There are so many fun activities that families can do together like pumpkin carving, corn mazes, and drinking hot apple cider. But the question we want to look at today is, as Christians, are there some activities that we should avoid?
Almost every holiday has pagan roots.
Halloween like almost all of our major holidays has it’s roots in pagan religions from Europe and Britain. Carving pumpkins, hanging wreaths, and decorating eggs are just some of the traditions that originated from yearly pagan festivals created to worship false gods.
So the fact that Halloween has pagan roots is not necessarily a valid reason to completely boycott the holiday unless all other holidays are skipped as well. However, most of the holidays have been somewhat Christianized.
Many sources report that the early church, in an attempt to Christianize the pagan world and also to protect early Christians from being put to death for their faith, moved their specific religious holidays on the calendar to overlap pagan festivals that already existed. In doing so, they somewhat redeemed specific symbols like Holly Wreaths and Easter eggs by giving them new meanings. There are even creative ways to use carving a pumpkin to present the gospel.
In the world but not of the world.
I have never traveled abroad or lived among a different people group, but I imagine if I did there would be somethings I would have to learn to do differently. I would have to speak a new language, learn some new customs, and eat new foods. It would certainly be strange. Then again there are also things that I would not be willing to change, such as worshiping a false god.
The Bible says that followers of Christ Jesus are living in a world they are not apart of. Jesus uses this terminology when praying to the Father about you and me.
I have given them Your word, and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in truth, Your word is truth. John 17:14-15 NASB
Should early Christians have celebrated Halloween, All Saints Eve, on the same day that the Celts were celebrating their Samihain festival of death and coming of winter? What about celebrating the birth of Jesus on the same day as the pagan winter solstice celebration? Is there anything wrong with turning something bad into something good? Can we redeem the days? Doesn’t every day belong to the Lord?
I grew up singing “This is the day the the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it!” The Lord tells us to take authority in the earth, shine a light in the darkness, and to be witnesses of His glory in the earth. So for me, trying to live totally separate from the world (in my own little “Christian” world) doesn’t sound right.
I am not saying that Christian’s should, however, celebrate like the world does.
Wait a minute, don’t send me hate mail yet :). I am one of the biggest advocates of abstaining from vampires, zombies, witchcraft and in general things that look like darkness. But, listen to the way that Peter explains our dilemma.
Dear friends, I warn you as “temporary residents and foreigners” to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls. Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world. 1 Peter 2:11-12 NLT
What is living properly among our neighbors mean? According to Jesus the second greatest commandment is to love your neighbors, that would be treating them properly. I believe, not casting judgment or condemnation may also fall under the love category.
So what are we to do? How do we shine light into darkness without getting close to it?
What does the Bible have to say about it?
I realize that I am asking a lot more questions than I am giving answers. That is because every believer needs to make certain decisions for themselves according to the Word and their own consciousness. The Bible doesn’t come out and say Christians should not celebrate Halloween, but God’s Word does have some things to say. According to John 17 we are to be sanctified by the truth in God’s Word
These are some “Halloweenish” things the Bible explicitly says to not to participate in:
- Interpreting Omens
- Calling up the dead
- Casting Spells
- Worshiping false gods (satanic worship)
- Choosing things that represent death over life.
When you look at the list, it is a little hard to separate all of that from Halloween. Sadly this list of activities have leaked over into everyday fascinations in today’s society. In addition there are far more less obvious forms of witchcraft and false religions that today’s kids are being spoon fed, such as magic crystals, certain mindful practices, and dueling card games, but that will have to be the topic for another day.
How should a Christian celebrate Halloween?
The first way would be to not celebrate.
This doesn’t mean that you have to hide out in your house with the porch lights off hoping no one will knock at your door. I have some friends that just avoid being home by going out to dinner or to a movie. Decorate your house with fall decoration and not creepy or scary ones. Pumpkins, flowers, and maybe a scarecrow look great outside and will last until thanksgiving.
A second way to celebrate is to attend alternative church activities.
Some churches have reformation parties in honor of Martin Luther. It was on October 31st 1517 when Martin Luther nailed his 95 thesis to the door of the church. In it he debunked several practices that the church at that time was involved in and sparked what would soon be known has the Protestant Reformation.
Other churches have Fall Festivals and give kids the opportunity to get candy and hear the gospel.
The third way that some Christians celebrate Halloween is dressing up in costumes to go trick or treating.
Once trick or treating was Americanized, it really just became a money making business for selling candy and costumes. I do have great memories as a kid of making my own costume and running through the neighborhood with my friends. If this is something that you choose to do as a Christian family, you could still stand apart by not dressing up in costumes that promoted evil. Some families hand out religious tracks at their doors (make sure you have GOOD candy too).
Did I answer the question should Christians celebrate Halloween?
Well, I certainly don’t think that we should promote darkness, but we can be a light in dark places. So if you can find a way to use this dark holiday to shine the light of Jesus, then go for it! I would love to hear your ideas. If you believe strongly in abstaining from all activities, I support you as well.
As parents it is most important that we pass our faith down to our children. We must be on guard during this season to things that come on TV and occult activities that are more overtly promoted. Parents have the daunting task to teach children to live in a world where, as Christ followers, they are foreigners. We cannot conform to its image but are commanded to occupy and take authority in the earth until Christ returns. Therefore our children need to be well educated in the history of the world and the Word of God.
I think the most important thing is that as Christian parents we are always sharing our faith and having conversations about the world around us.
Use every opportunity to share your faith. See someone dressed up like a witch or a creepy skeleton in the store?
- Don’t put your hand over your child’s eyes and rush them away causing them to be afraid. Us the opportunity to explain that some people do practice witchcraft, but they don’t look like the costumes you see.
- Talk about how the Bible says that God is more powerful than anything even greater than any evil in the world.
- Teach them how to pray for those who don’t believe in Jesus and how to share the gospel.
If your kids are older…
- Use this opportunity to discuss how Jesus defeated death hell and the grave.
- It is also a good time to talk about demons verses angel or darkness verses light all according to God’s Word.
The perfect costume!
It would be so amazing if we could all dress up in this costume!
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Colossians 3:12 NIV
Ask the Lord to guide you.
God promises wisdom to all who ask. Pray and ask Him how you can most honor Him this season and every season. Some questions you can ask yourself would be:
- Are my actions bringing glory to God?
- Am I showing love to others?
- If I engaged in this activity would it cause someone else to stumble in their faith?
- Am I showing love to my neighbor?
- Are my actions pointing to Jesus?
Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lust. Romans 13:12-14
From our family to yours,